Moroccan chicken stew

moroccan-chicken2

Vinny’s summer vacation

Summer is in the air and Vinny and I are heading for the great outdoors. That means you won’t likely be hearing from us here again till September rolls around.

We leave you with a one-pot dinner idea that you can make for a crowd over the summer. More

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Shrimp gumbo rocks the year of the pulse

Shrimp gumbo with ancho chile spice rub

Year of the pulse…

In honor of this versatile food group, we present a dish starring beans, lentils and dried peas. We served our spicy shrimp gumbo as the opening course for our Spanish tapas gourmet dinner this year. But it works well in larger amounts as a main course, too. More

Pear and leek bake

Pear and leek bake (crustless quiche)

A crustless quiche with a difference

Vinny’s blogged about pearsleeks, and goat cheese before. But here they team up to give you something a bit different. Sweet and savory meld to make an unusual main course for lunch or a spectacular beginning to a fancy dinner. And except for the chopping, it’s easy! More

Gollum’s easy baked fish and green “seaweed” chili

Gollum's oven-baked haddock with bacon

Gollum’s oven-baked haddock with bacon

Gollum

This small, slimy hobbit lived on an island in the centre of an underground lake, in the story The Lord of the Rings. He was endowed with magic that extended his life well past the time when he should have left the building.

Gollum thought his staying power was due to a ring that he called My Precious. But I think  his regular meals of cave fish and seaweed was the most likely reason for his amazing, long life. More

Adela’s Norwegian meatballs, WHO style

Adela's Norwegian meatballs

Traditional cooking, with a healthier outlook

The WHO’s stand on meat

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just sent shock waves through the earth’s stratosphere. What they said was something that anybody who has been following nutrition news in the past few years already knew.

WHO news:  Processed meats cause cancer. And red meats probably cause cancer.

But unless you are genetically predisposed to the disease, the increased risk according to most experts is relatively low. Nevertheless, it’s real. More

Canada Day’s Chicken Sandwich, 2015

preston

For 23 years now, Ottawa has been serving up a chicken sandwich on the Hill to hungry Canadians who want a freshly barbecued healthy snack to get them through the day’s festivities. This year’s version features an herb-infused honey-Dijon sauce to take it to the next level. More

Hasenpfeffer! A rich rabbity stew from Germany

Prepping for hasenpfeffer

Prepping sausage for hasenpfeffer

My regular readers will know that our Frozen in Ottawa dinner is well in hand. This, my fourth post on the subject, answers the question, “What should we serve for the main course?”

The man of the house wanted to feature his winter stew-making skills, well-honed in our climate. He suggested “Hasenpfeffer,” a dish he had recently cooked for the family with success. In fact, I thought it was the best stew he had ever made for us. But… what kind of meat is that, you might wonder. More

The main attraction: Ancho sauce and caramelized onions adorn Spanish pork loin

Spring gourmet main course

Pork with Sardinian fennel and mushroom risotto on the side

Now that you’re nicely warmed up with a pleasant cocktail and a savory appetizer, we’ll move right along to the star of the meal. Vinny rubs a large, lean pork tenderloin with a blend of dried ancho chili pepper and other spices. More

Vinny cooks up an Internet dinner

Gourmet dinner - red theme

Our annual dinner party

Vinny and I have made new friends since we’ve been blogging. Many of them are great cooks!

When it was our turn to host a dinner party this spring, Vinny thought it would be fun to showcase recipes he’s found on-line. It was such a hard choice seeing as there’s only so much food you can take in on any given evening… and there are so many wonderful dishes to choose from. Thank goodness for Pinterest, where a foodie can save and sort favorite recipes found on the Internet. For this particular evening, Vinny picked the following dishes, based on Mediterranean small plates. More

Nothing fishy about green chili salmon baked in banana leaves

Salmon in banana leaves

This recipe from Chef Mo captured my imagine. Then it seared into my soul!

Banana leaves

When a reader from Texas told me where to find purple yams here in Canada, I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to find banana leaves, either. Sure enough, a small store just 10 minutes away sold them.

Giant leaves in hand (these things are humongous), I set about getting dinner ready for guests coming to a birthday party.

The night before the big day, disaster struck. More

Remembering old soldiers with Clementine’s oxtail stew

Dad in the kitchenLest we forget…

In honor of Remembrance Day, on what would have been my dad’s 94rd birthday, I’m re-posting a feature that touches on times during the Second World War. More

Sweet potato stars as the main course

Sweet Patooty dresses for dinner

Sweet Patooty dresses for dinner

Sweet potato’s qualities

Our Sweet Patooty is not just another pretty face. There’s so much goodness under her skin, I hardly know where to start. She comes from a large family.  There are at least 18 relatives you might meet at the supermarket. All of them bring great qualities to the table. Some have orange or reddish skins, while others are purple-skinned. The purple ones can have white or purple flesh. But we don’t discriminate based on the color of the skin… More

Home-made shrimp quesadillas spice up your life

shrimp quesadilla

My first-ever home-made quesadilla

Hot spices boost your metabolism

Add spice and you’ll burn off the fat in your meals that much more quickly. More

Hungry enough to eat an ox?

Most times we settled for a turkey… but not always!

I owe my on-line existence to a mining engineer. Without Bill’s passion for food as well as rare minerals, I wouldn’t be blogging today. It was Bill who took his daughter Sharon, my alter-ego,  under his formidable wing and taught her to cook.

Sundays would see Bill in his tiny, lemon-hued 1950s kitchen pouring over one of his many fish-splattered and chocolate-speckled cook books. Sharon was there, too, in her pleated skirt with her blouse hanging out, helping him find the canned pineapple bits, the dented More

Sauerkraut’s probiotics sweeten Polish cabbage and chicken dish

Bavarian chicken

Sauerkraut

Will and Isla carefully chop through mountains of cabbage.

“In the old days,” Vinny says, “people made their own sauerkraut so they would have veggies to eat during the long winters.Your great grandpappy was a sauerkraut-maker extraordinaire. People came from all over to buy his home-made kraut. Now, we just go to the deli. It comes in jars or cans, too, at the grocery store. I like the Polish kind best myself. It’s good to keep the old ways alive. Keep chopping!”

“Val deree, val derah, val deree, val der-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” sing Will and Vinny at the top of their lungs. Isla just hums, too busy chopping to get involved with words.

Today we know that the old ways were healthy ways. Sauerkraut is what you get after cabbage is well salted and allowed to rest for a few weeks in a crock, closed off  from air. Salt pulls water from the cabbage to make a brine.  The little bugs that thrive in this environment are good bacteria. They make the brine acidic, in a process called fermentation.

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Cabbage makes good sauerkraut

Probiotics

These healthy bugs go by the name probiotics. They work against the bad bacteria in our stomachs to improve  digestion.

Many people think the healthy bacteria protect us by keeping inflammation in check, reducing allergies, preventing constipation, and boosting our brain power. The science is still young. But to be safe many nutritionists recommend two servings of probiotic foods a day.

Probiotics are found in fermented foods… like pickles, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and, of course, sauerkraut. You can also get probiotics in supplements. But unless you’re taking antibiotics, which wipe out the good bugs along with the bad ones, it’s best to rely on real food for your probiotics.

Sauerkraut processed in cans or jars doesn’t have any live probiotics, because heat kills all those cute little helpful bacteria. Instead, buy it raw at farmer’s markets or delis for the real stuff. Or make it yourself!

But processed or cooked sauerkraut still has all the nutrients from cabbage. Enjoy it both ways. It’s packed with vitamin C!

Meal suggestions

Pair well-rinsed raw sauerkraut with soft poached eggs in the morning. The meal has a nice tang and makes a satisfying start to the day.

At lunch, sauerkraut makes a tasty addition to salad. But what I like best is putting a big scoop into the bottom of my bowl before pouring hot soup over it. Yummy!

For dinner, Vinny suggests a Polish chicken dish, starring a heap of sauerkraut.

Bavarian chicken

Vinny’s Polish chicken
serves three

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large apple, cored and chopped
  • 8 ounces sauerkraut, well rinsed to remove salt (if you have raw sauerkraut, reserve some to add to the plate at serving time)
  • 12 medium Brussels sprouts, stemmed and cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/2  teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts or legs,  or a small roasting chicken
  1. Sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic in a large soup pot, using a bit of oil.
  2. Add the rest of the veggies, spices and other ingredients and  over medium heat, bring to boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Chicken

  1. Before you start cooking the veggies, put a  small chicken in the oven to roast or prepare three boneless chicken breasts for  the barbecue. If the meat is ready first, keep it warm, then serve the chicken on top of the veggies.
  2. Alternatively, poach the chicken breasts in the soup pot, submerged in the liquid. Add the chicken after the liquid has come to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the meat to cook through, about 20-30 minutes. This method is easier, but I like roasted or grilled chicken better :).

Garnish

  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons paprika

Paprika boosts metabolism and fresh dill contains vitamins.

This dish is one of my favorites. The stove-top veggies are good with lots of  lean meats… tasty even for folks who say they don’t like cabbage (or Brussels sprouts).

Nutrition

The veggies (per serving): Calories (kcal)100.1, Fat (g) 3.6, Sodium (mg) 377.0, Potassium (mg) 433.1, Fibre (g) 5.1, Vitamin A (RAE) 27.4, Vitamin C (mg) 48.7, Calcium (mg) 60.9, Folate (DFE) 51.4.  The chicken: a 6-oz breast has 252 calories and 46 grams of protein.

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A Polish meal is all I need
To make my day complete.
It’s hard to keep account of all
The cabbage that I eat.

 

Fish for omega-3s with BBQ salmon

Pee-yew!

Pee-yew!

Eat fish for omega-3s

If you hate smelling up your kitchen, don’t let that stop you from enjoying the deliciousness of  fresh or fresh-frozen fish. Just cook it on the barbecue, outside! It’s easy for every day and delicious enough for any special occasion.

Fish is full of those hard to come by but oh so important omega-3 fatty acids. They are important, first, because we can’t manufacture them in our bodies. More

Talkin’ turkey with a light bean chili

Steaming turkey fresh from the Egg

Use left overs from your holiday turkey for this recipe. Ground turkey works as well.

The ingredients

Turkey gets a little attitude in this dish, with black beans and lots of chili powder, garlic, onions and peppers. The spices give your metabolism a kick. That gets you burning calories faster.

Turkey offers lots of protein coupled with just a little fat. It’s an inexpensive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. Turkey chili makes a perfect recipe for those on the 17-day diet.

More

Miss Chicken wears orange for a bolder style

Orange chicken bake

 

Chicken

Take heart, boys and girls. The first meal in my 17-day-diet series is not a salad. Instead, it tells the tale of how the bland and boring Miss Chicken found her style.

We wanted her a little bolder. A little edgier. We also wanted her to have the power to keep you healthy. To do all that we partnered her with the color orange! More

Life-Ever-Lasting Sherpa’s Pie with Yak or Pork

Recipe for eternal youth – Sherpa’s pie

In my last post I told you the tale of how a girl named Yackity came to live on a yak farm in Canada. Although she was far from her home in Tibet, it was a fine life. Yackity learned how to grow many kinds of food and make delicious and healthy meals. But there was one dish that her mother had made for her, which was always her favorite… Sherpa’s pie.

We can imagine the life-ever-lasting Tibetans of the mythical Shangri-La baking Yackity’s one-dish dinner for their pampered guests. Its healthful ingredients likely held the key to their long lives. More

Scallops and beans battle stroke with magnesium

A plateful of Magnesium

Smoking and stroke

Are your grandparents looking a little worn around the edges? Maybe you see them filling up on junk food or puffing away on cigarettes too often?

If so, they could be setting themselves up for a medical catastrophe known as Stroke. Holy smokes! That could be serious. Is there anything you can do to help? More

Little lambs eat ivy! But kids’ll eat goat cheese strata

What little lambs eat may not be so good for kids of the human variety. But one kind of ivy is a plant people have been eating for nearly ever. More

The three faces of Brocky Lee

Brocky Lee’s Slaw fortifies a lunch-time soup

Brocky Lee is a fine fellow. He’s a member of a well-recognized vegetable family, the Cabbages. Many of Brocky’s famous cousins include such luminaries as Sir  Cauliflower, Mr. Kale, the brothers Radish and Turnip, and the little Missies Brussels Sprouts and Arugula. More

Eating “local” in Newfoundland

Common murre… a food source in northern communities

Local foods sometimes make a tasting experience like you can get nowhere else. When I travel, I always try to find foods from the region. And at home I like to buy foods grown nearby. I find these foods are fresher and tastier than most supermarket stuff. Way more fun!

Watch an awesome video of a couple of guys in Newfoundland doing some home cooking. They got themselves a pair of murres and some local savory, and they’ve cooked up a real scoff ‘o turrs (a large meal of ducks for a party). Bake it like a man! More

Food Surprises… A Pocket Full of Rye

Vinny made this tourtière from pork, not pigeons

Remember that song about a pocketful of rye? The king cuts into his pie, and surprise… a blackbird nips off his nose! This nonsense isn’t as silly as it first seems. More

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